Raw application volume jumped 45.7 percent for the week ending Feb. 13, according to the weekly survey released Wednesday by the Mortgage Bankers Association. The four-week moving average is down 9.6 percent, however, showing an application market that remains seasonally weak overall. Confidence crept back into refinance; the refinance volume index increased 64.3 percent from the week-ago level. Refi applications rose to 74.2 percent of total application activity from 66.7 percent the week before, according to the MBA's data.
The purchase index increased 9.1 percent; the conventional purchase index rose 10.9 percent while the government purchase index rose 5.5 percent. Interest rates on 15- and 30-year fixed rate mortgages slipped slightly in the week, according to figures published by the MBA. A slight downward slide in mortgage rates may have rekindled some of the refinance popularity seen in recent weeks.
A separate survey conducted by Mortgage Maxx LLC found that household activity decreased 0.6 percent for the week ending Feb. 13. The MAX, as the index is called, adjusts raw application data for multiple applications submitted by a single household. The MAX, combined with the MBA's data, would suggest that, while an insubstantial fraction of households exited the application market, those households showed an increased optimism in the origination market and therefore submitted more applications. The MAXcal, which isolates data from California households, rose 2.8 percent the same week, suggesting households in the state were more optimistic than households across the nation.
"With US treasuries trending lower of late, and the Fed’s MBS purchases yielding no significant breakthrough in mortgage affordability, application activity remains well below year ago levels," wrote MAX publisher Paul Descloux in his commentary on the indices.
Write to Diana Golobay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.